As previously mentioned here, France is angling for a return to the calendar.
In the week prior to the Monaco Grand Prix, Magny-Cours circuit chief Serge Saulnier claimed a deal was close. A few days later, Bernie Ecclestone spoke to Reuters and rubbished the idea. But his mind changes regularly, so we can’t rule it out entirely.
There are two major obstacles to a French Grand Prix return at Magny-Cours. The first is the circuit itself. Magny-Cours could be worse, but the layout is unlikely to produce the thrilling racing the sport has spent the last decade trying to encourage.
And though the situation has improved slightly with better access roads and facilities, the circuit is still quite remote.
The second is politics. French governments (like all governments, in a way) tend to look after their own, and the Magny-Cours circuit lies in the Nevers region, which is traditionally socialist. It was plucked from obscurity by socialist President Francois Mitterand and upgraded to host the French Grand Prix for the first time in 1991.
But the right-wing presidents who followed Mitterand didn’t really care about the place, and eventually the race departed. A return to Paul Ricard was mooted in 2012, with Autosport reporting a deal was effectively done.
That deal fell apart after the presidential election the same year. Socialist Francois Hollande was elected, and—quelle surprise—Magny-Cours is once more the flavour of the month.
Only, Hollande’s approval ratings are, per the BBC, consistently below 20 percent and his government is exceptionally unpopular. It seems likely he’ll be kicked out at the next election in 2017, and be replaced by someone with no great love for the Nevers region.
So there’s a good chance Magny-Cours will become unloved again after only a few years.
Maybe it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but we can’t entirely discount an alternate-year race-sharing agreement with the German or Belgian Grands Prix.
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